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THREE THINGS: Middle-Six Versatility, PK Specialist and A Hawk After All

Get to know free-agent signing Mattias Janmark and what he hopes to bring to Chicago's roster

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

Chicago's roster has been infused with a Swedish flair over the past few days, but perhaps no bigger impact comes to the lineup than Mattias Janmark's signing as a free agent on Monday

Originally a 2013 third-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings, the two-way forward has racked up 297 NHL games over four full seasons in Dallas with 109 points (46G, 63A).

Here's what you need to know about one of the new members of the Blackhawks' offense: 


MIDDLE-SIX VERSATILITY

A natural center who has played much of the past two seasons in Dallas on the wing, Janmark becomes a versatile piece of the Blackhawks' offense. He's played across a variety of roles -- from the top line down to the fourth -- but was largely a second- and third-line winger during the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final over the past two months.

The 27-year-old also brings a defensive responsibility to the ice that the Chicago has added in several moves this offseason. 

"I've always been an offensive player that takes care of the defensive end first," Janmark said.

"We're going to keep working at that. We've shown there's a path there to be a better defensive team," head coach Jeremy Colliton said after the season's end about the two-way play he'd like to continue to develop from his offensive group. "We've got to reach it if we want to be an elite team and go deep into the playoffs."

Janmark was a 29- and 34-point scorer, respectively, over his first two full seasons in the NHL. As the Stars became a more defensive-minded team over the last two seasons, he said, his offensive production reflected the downturn of the rest of the Stars roster, with 25- and 21-point campaigns. 

He hopes that not only will his two-way mindset pay dividends for the Blackhawks defensively, but being paired with skilled players across Chicago's lineup will also in turn help revive his offensive ability on the other side of the puck. 

"I'm really hoping to get some confidence back in the offensive zone and get that game going a little bit more because that's how I want to play," Janmark said. "Always been a two-way player, so defensive end of the game is really important to me. I (hopefully) can get to play with good players that can help me out offensively and I can help them out defensively too."

He added: "I think the way Chicago plays suits me a little bit more." 

Video: Janmark on signing with Blackhawks


PK SPECIALIST

Perhaps where Janmark can leave his biggest mark in Chicago is on the penalty kill. With the Stars over the past two seasons, he was one of the most consistently used forwards when playing down a man, a role that he relishes.

"I hope to come in there and play good and earn it. I hope to play a lot and play offensive minutes, but they said they needed some help on the PK," he said of his conversations with Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman and Colliton. "That's what I've been doing mostly in Dallas. I'll do that for sure."

With the trade of Brandon Saad, who saw almost an identical workload on the penalty kill last season (1:45 per game played vs. Janmark's 1:38 per game), Janmark slots in as a perfect addition to a resurgent Blackhawks' PK that killed off 20 of 23 infractions over the final eight playoff games. 


A HAWK AFTER ALL

Heading into the 2013 draft, an NHL-hopeful Janmark thought Chicago would be a great fit for him based on his pre-draft conversations with the team. As the 74th pick rolled around in the third round, the Blackhawks opted to take John Hayden instead, with Janmark going to the Red Wings just minutes later at No. 79 overall. 

"Before I got into the league, I watched them," Janmark said of his love for his new team. "It was when they went on their runs and I was kind of cheering for them back then and I always wanted to play here. Actually was pretty close to getting drafted there, I think. I know a little about the organization and everything you hear about it is top-notch and the city is great. I love playing there."

The forward is excited to finally get his chance in Chicago, filling out a lineup that features big-name veterans he watched as a kid in Sweden and up-and-coming talents alike -- a style and an attribute he was in search of in his next NHL home. 

"I love the style they play now," he said. "They've got awesome players -- the veteran players there with Kane and Toews and Keith and Seabrook, and then they have a lot of younger players too that are really skilled. That's kind of what I was looking for to get my game going too."

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